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Men vs. Women: Personality Traits Similar, but Job Success Differs

Men and Women Who Share Personality Traits Have Sharply Different Success Rates at Work
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Men and Women: The Similarities continued...

Most, but women substantially more than men, were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. About 32% of the women and 17% of the men said they came from low-income homes and 52% and 42%, respectively, from middle-class households.

"While there's an image of wealthy, successful people coming from wealth, in truth many come from poverty," Miller-Burke says.

And 45% of women and 72% of men owned their business.

So what can women and men do to be more successful on the job?

Get a mentor or coach, Miller-Burke says. They can help you to communicate better and to resolve conflict, among other skills.

"The higher you are in the hierarchy, the more resolving problems becomes part of the job," she says.

Workshops, educational seminars, and books can you help learn a transformational leadership style, she says.

Psychotherapy can also help you do a better job, Miller-Burke says.

For women, things may be a little harder. For starters, it may be difficult to get your partner to take over more of the household and family chores.

As for discrimination, Miller-Burke is planning another study to address how women overcome sexism to achieve success, as so many did in this survey.

She believes the solution could involve fighting "stereotype threat," a phenomenon coined by social psychologist Claude Steele, PhD, to describe the strong harmful effect that being the target of a negative stereotype can have on performance.

In his keynote address at the meeting, Steele, the outgoing provost of Columbia University, said that recent research shows stereotype threat can be overcome by helping people feel like they belong.

"Small interventions can have big effects in reducing the impact of stereotype threat," Steele says.

The new survey involved 56 women and 50 men from 19 states in the U.S. and Canada aged 37 to 74. The vast majority were white (95%), and most were married (83%), had children (86%), and reported having either “very good” (41%) or “excellent” (33%) health. They worked in a diverse range of industries, including health care and medical, banking and finance, mental health counseling, and education.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the peer review process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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